During and post Ignite we have been hit with a tsunami of updates and information. I feel like now we are settling in the flood that remains and wading through information to understand what is relevant, what we need to get quickly across and how to find that detail.
When attending this conference as a Change Manager you have to work out the narrow slice of sessions that will be relevant and of value. I didn’t want to end up in a session talking about technical detail over my head and lose time that could have been spent making connections or validating my own day to day work on other topics.
A key challenge is to sift through all the chaos and activity on social media to work out what you need to know. I focus on the updates or new features that will impact organisations I work with or detail I need to get across to enhance our own offering.
The following detail is firstly some quick tips for anyone working in the adoption or Change Management space with Office 365, whether you are an independent consultant or handling it internally within an organisation. Following this below I have captured my thoughts on some new features.
Some key tips for Office 365 Change Managers following Microsoft Ignite:
- Let the dust settle and work out where to direct your energy — don’t try to take it all in. Work out what is the must know detail for your organisation and users.
- Think about your organisation, or those you consult with, and their immediate needs. For example there is a lot of buzz about Microsoft Teams and Yammer but are you really using these apps yet? If you are about to roll either out, think about pausing to quickly incorporate new features or the upcoming changes into your plan, or even waiting until those features are available.
- Find the right sessions from Ignite to watch to help you understand those updates (or read the suggested links below).
For those relating to adoption, see suggestions on this page:
- Once you have key detail, build your own roadmap. Think through what is already available, what is coming early 2020 and beyond. Create a communication and training plan to handle new features in line with the Microsoft roadmap. This is good practice as you should really do this each month ongoing.
- Follow experts who do a great job of pulling high level detail together to save time and be more efficient. I let the technical consultants get across the massive amount of detail and at times simply ask “what do I need to know to help users?”.
Here are some key experts I follow who have compiled some great content:
I had the pleasure of finally meeting Susan in person at Ignite. Her slides are thorough, well structured and particularly useful showing timeline detail for upcoming changes.
Darrell Webster and Daniel Glenn
These guys are fantastic. Their YouTube shows are well thought out and really useful. I participated in their ‘unconference’ session on Learning Pathways and found it time well spent. Their latest Ignite episode is here:
Karuana is a fantastic Microsoft expert, engaging presenter and all round great go-to. I suggest following her on Twitter or even just LinkedIn to see her ongoing content. She has a really useful write up in the Microsoft Tech Community capturing key detail for adoption:
Matt always produces high quality content from his Office 365 Periodic table to his session content. It was also a pleasure to meet Matt in person at Ignite. His Ignite resources are here:
Loryan Strant and Alistair Pugin
How could I forget these two guys. They crack me up in person and I love their approach in their vlog series. Check the first in their Ignite series here:
And now for the detail — what are my key takeaways?
I have been using Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways in the last month or so to support Champions Programs with our customers. It is handy to include it as a tab in a Team so people have access to the site and content. We have been then building upon this to tailor some detailed ways of working content per organisation. It’s definitely worth reviewing the content to consider how you can further customise the Learning Pathways site to leverage off this free content for your organisation. The fact that you can customise the site with your branding and create custom playlists is really great in helping organisations rely less on external partners for costly custom training material or learning hubs. This will be available in 9 languages in 2020, providing greater value for content that is included in your existing Microsoft subscription.
For more detail check out the Learning Pathways demo sessions from Ignite, start here: https://aka.ms/MicrosoftIgnite/THR2138
During Ignite I did a shift each day in the Office 365 Adoption booth supporting the Microsoft team. It was such a great experience to firstly chat 1:1 with those who build and enhance the adoption dashboard, to then learn the new features, and converse with conference attendees. The Productivity Score I am personally very excited about. It’s great to already use the tenant metrics to see patterns across the applications or features. Having the elements come together, providing work behaviour insights presented in this new area is something I cannot wait to apply to ongoing consulting to assist in reviewing how people are working and areas for improvement.
More detail is here:
I have spent much of this year running Champions Programs across a number of Insync Technology customers. What was great at Ignite was to attend some sessions to see how Microsoft recommends running Champions Programs to validate what we have been delivering at Insync. I still think we have some key aspects of our offering that add further value on top of what you get for free. 😉
There is some great content that you can access from Microsoft to support your organisation and establish a Champions network, including the way they get Champions to attend calls to connect and learn. Check out the Champions Corner to see how you can connect in and access resources.
I do feel though that nothing beats face to face engagement through the coaching we deliver, so also feel free to reach out to me!
It’s great for organisations that there seems to be less need for engaging specialist vendors due to the out of the box SharePoint capabilities looking great and being more user friendly even for a non-tech like me. I recently created a site capturing ways of working, governance setup detail and product do’s and don’ts and was surprised how easy it was now to have logos, text and beautiful web parts as part of my page.
The Year of Yammer
Microsoft launched a number of upcoming new capabilities for leadership engagement, community, company-wide communication and knowledge sharing. They are promising deep integration with Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and Outlook. If your organisation uses Yammer, or is planning to the in future, review the detail here:
Microsoft Teams was all the buzz at Ignite with so many booths and sessions. If I had a drink for every time I heard “private channels” last week I would have been worse for wear.
There were a number of great updates coming to Microsoft Teams that are certainly on my radar. I will put a list here for quick reference and in a following blog I want to go deeper into an impact assessment of these.
To get you across the detail here is what I am reviewing this week for our consulting practice as well as for our organisation internally:
- I am excited about multi-window for pop-out chats and calls. Have you had a document open in teams and then a call pops up? You then find after the call you have to go back through the library and folder to open your document again. Early next year this will change [insert excited little dance here].
- Polls and surveys in Teams chat are cool, and will be really handy for getting quicker outcomes with less back and forth conversation.
- Pinned channels is also coming soon. This does help with organising ourselves and quick access to what we need, especially as we continue getting added to Teams in our organisations.
- The integration between Outlook and Teams is great. Driving users to move communication into channel conversations instead of ye-olde ‘reply all’ emails is slow going at times and I think this feature will help make this change in behaviour a bit more seamless and hopefully get people more enthusiastic. For those that have already been forwarding emails to channels, this new feature removes superfluous content such as signatures and email headers.
- Microsoft has been heavily promoting that meetings will gradually become more effective and inclusive with Whiteboard and live captions. Firstly, Microsoft Whiteboard is gaining traction and I think users will find this handy once they are more confident. Creating visual processes or brainstorming really helps participants get on the same page. Even just creating actions or points on a visual whiteboard is great.
- Live captions — as an Australian I think we need a bit more development here to handle our accents. The captions I saw live at Ignite when enabled for a US presenter were much more accurate than for my fellow Australians. We cannot rely on them to give quality detail for Aussie presentations or in meetings but I know as this capability grows, so will inclusivity in this area.
Head here for further detail on each:
Beyond all of the above, when you have time at a later stage consider reviewing:
- Project Cortex — watch the keynote and enjoy detail about some of the exiting advancements to come with AI and knowledge management.
- Year of Yammer — if this wasn’t on your immediate to-do list already
- Yammer in Teams — coming next year — if you use both, understand how Yammer can be accessed and surfaced within Teams to streamline your communities and teamwork areas.
- For the more savvy users across your organisation, at a later stage review the detail to automate workflows, integrate custom apps and data insights within Microsoft Teams using Power Platform. Talk to IT and understand how your organisation could benefit from functionality and automation, for detail review item 7 here:
This is what I have found wading through the things I attended, conversations, tweets and posts. I am sure things will pop up but this is a start.
Now go forth and work out your plan of attack for your organisation.